Data saved the day countless times on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and he quickly became the MVP of Enterprise-D away teams.
- Lt. Commander Data’s android abilities, including enhanced strength and intelligence, made him a crucial asset on away missions in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- Data’s observant and open-minded nature, combined with his lack of bias and emotion, allowed him to excel in various situations and display empathy for other life forms.
- While Data’s android capabilities saved the day on numerous occasions, his distinct appearance and vulnerability to manipulation also posed challenges during undercover missions and encounters with individuals who understood his technology.
From the earliest episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) proved to be crucial to the success of numerous away missions. As the second officer on the USS Enterprise-D under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), Data was always an important member of the crew, but away missions were where the android truly excelled. With his superior strength, intelligence, and agility, Data was instrumental in saving the day on countless occasions. Captain Picard always made sure to play to Data’s strengths, and the lovable android became one of Picard’s most trusted officers and closest friends.
More than anything, Data wished to be human, and he spent much of Star Trek: The Next Generation studying humanity in order to understand it better. Despite this desire, it was often Data’s android abilities that came in most useful on away missions. Not only did Data have the enhanced abilities of an android, but he was also incredibly observant and open-minded. He noticed things that others missed and approached every situation without bias or emotion. While Data did not technically experience human emotions, he cared deeply about those around him and often displayed empathy and concern for other life forms in Data’s best Star Trek episodes.
Data Was The Most Valuable Member Of TNG Away Missions
Why wouldn’t you want the super strong and super smart android watching your back?
In Star Trek: The Next Generation season 1, episode 13, “Datalore,” Data learned that he had been created by Dr. Noonian Soong (Brent Spiner), a brilliant cyberneticist. Soong had created Data and his “brothers” to have as much in common with humans as possible, while also having enhanced abilities beyond human capabilities. As the only android serving in Starfleet, Data was a unique and irreplacable asset to the USS Enterprise-D, and the Federation flagship would have been destroyed many times over if not for him.
Of course, Data rarely saved the day alone, and it was the combined efforts of the Enterprise crew that made it such an exceptional ship. It also helped that Captain Picard was a master at playing to the strengths of his crew and delegating tasks.
For example, in TNG season 1, episode 18, “Home Soil,” Data not only faces off against a laser (and wins), but he also discovers a new life form on the planet being terraformed. The laser in question had already killed a member of the terraforming team, and it was only Data’s android reflexes that allowed him to escape unscathed. Data also proves invaluable in situations when a virus or mental attack incapacitates the rest of the crew.
Thanks to Data’s positronic brain, he can perform calculations and search for information incredibly quickly. He can also link himself to other technology, such as in Star Trek: TNG‘s classic “The Best of Both Worlds, Part II,” when Data shuts the Borg down by connecting to their network through Locutus. While Data’s android brain and abilities helped save the galaxy on numerous occasions, they have also caused their fair share of problems.
Data Being An Android Was Also A Handicap Sometimes
Data’s not easy to hide on an away mission.
Because Data does not look quite human, he cannot easily be disguised as other aliens, making it difficult for him to go on any undercover missions. When Data was sent to observe the Ba’ku people in Star Trek: Insurrection, for example, he had to remain cloaked and unseen. Although he is incredibly advanced, Data is still a machine, meaning he can malfunction or be tampered with by those who understand his technology.
In TNG season 4, episode 3, “Brothers,” Dr. Noonian Soong recalls Data to his laboratory, and Data single-handedly takes over the entire Enterprise to get there. While no one was hurt in this particular instance, the ease with which Data gained control of the ship while not under his own command was frightening. Data is also manipulated by his evil brother Lore in the two-part episode, “Descent.” Still, the positives to having Data on the Enterprise outweigh the negatives, and his journey to be more human in Star Trek: The Next Generation only made him a better Starfleet officer.